Congratulations Candace Kitchen


Chances are you have had opportunities to interact with Candace Kitchen recently. And if you’ve seen her run the recent SafeFrame™ training sessions, you’ve seen her expertise and enthusiasm in action.

We are proud to announce that Candace has been promoted to Customer Service Specialist.

Her new role includes:

  • Handling design support calls
  • Researching opportunities to pass on to our Reps and Distributors
  • Reaching out to code officials to get confirmation for code compliance issues
  • Scheduling Zoom meetings, including running our SafeFrame launch webinars
  • Supporting the needs of our Reps and Distributors

Many of you have shared your positive experiences with Candace. Here is one we recently received: “I wanted to take this time to let you know what a help Candace has been to me over the past several months. She has been more than willing to help me at every turn, from explaining the ‘verbiage’ used in specifications, teaching me the ins and outs of Construct Connect, to assisting with reaching out to code officials, architects & end-users. She is always available, taking the ‘open door policy’ to another level. Even when she is out of the office, she still finds the time to answer my questions. Candace does all of this in a kind, caring manner – what a bonus! I consider Candace to be an integral part of our team, and I’m thankful I have her to turn to when I need a hand.”

We are thankful too. Congratulations, Candace.

Total Door Systems Gains Certified Coding Expert – Jack Robbins

Total Door Systems National Business Development Manager Jack Robbins can add a new title to his resume – “IBC Code Expert.” Jack recently underwent training with the International Building Code to become a certified instructor on building codes and standards.

Asking whether a customer’s door meets the standard is one of the most powerful questions we can ask. Tremendous interest has been generated from architects, general contractors, builders and others who want to make sure that they are specifying a product that meets the standard. 

In the coming months, Jack will be presenting a series of webinars and videos that explain common misconceptions about what the code requires, and how Total Door Systems’ solutions removes the complexity and guesswork from product specification for customers.

Jack’s “Smoke Containment Strategies” presentation is available now for download through the site for your review. Please don’t hesitate to connect with Jack at with questions.

Meet Jack Robbins: Business Development Manager

Jack Robbins has been a Total Door true believer for nearly 18 years.

Getting his start in 1999 at Engineering Specialty Company, a North Carolina-based distributor, Jack took on two large jobs that specified Total Door Systems. He was hooked.

“The simplicity of the system – the door came with all the components. It is very clean with no obstructions, and it’s a fast product to retrofit that provides unmatched security and fire safety,” he said.

Jack in December joined Total Door Systems as business development manager, helping sales representatives and distributors with his extensive knowledge of the product and how to grow awareness of its benefits across a broad spectrum of applications.

“There really hasn’t been an application that I haven’t tackled with a Total Door System,” Jack said. “I know the product and what it is capable of achieving like the back of my hand.”

Jack is an exciting addition to the team, said Total Door Systems CEO Patricia Yulkowski. The company has worked hard to provide consistent support to its sales and distribution teams, emphasizing open channels of communication. Putting additional team members in place who can help spur growth for everyone was a priority.

“We feel very fortunate to have found the perfect fit for that role in Jack,” Yulkowski said. “He understands the product, the integrity with which we operate, and the needs of our distribution teams.”

Jack agrees. His new role has been a long time in the making, he said.

“When I gave notice at my last job, my former boss looked at me and said, ‘We’ve always known your first love was Total Door.’ I had always said that one day I was going to work for Total Door,” Jack said.

“I want everyone to know that I am here for them and that I will be coming out and getting to know them personally to discover how I can assist them to grow their business.”

Meet John Pierre – Service Manager

John Pierre

John Pierre has been in manufacturing for more than 25 years. He knows a thing or two about how to make products to exacting standards without sacrificing quality and efficiency on the line.

After more than seven years supervising final assembly at Total Door, John is taking his expertise to the classroom, training distributors and installers on how to properly install Total Door systems. John spent time in the field to better understand what installers encounter on project sites.

“The on-the-ground experience has been invaluable to me,” he said. “You really get a sense of how Total Door Systems fit into an overall design vision, as well as the safety and security of the structure.”

Total Door Systems is the only integrated door system manufacturer that requires certification for field installers. Total Doors are delivered on-site opening ready. The systems’ unparalleled security and flexible design benefits are unique in the industry, but creating the best customer experience begins with proper installation.

“The training is one part of a complete support team that we have at Total Door,” John said. “Our commitment to all of our sales representatives and distributor partners is that we will have their back 100 percent of the time. Our training is a key part of that support.”

Meet Gary Deter

Gary Deter

Gary Deter, the owner of Architectural Door Consultants, in Laguna Miguel, Calif., is helping to drive the western expansion of Total Door. As the company’s representative for Southern California, Arizona and southern Nevada, Gary has been a key force in identifying and signing on well-respected distributors in a vital part of the country.

“Projects are booming on the west coast,” Gary says, adding that he’s excited to bring Total Door Systems into more of them.

Gary has been in the door and hardware industry for 36 years and added Total Door to his product list two years ago. He said the addition of Total Door products allows him to compete with some of the largest firms on the west coast for every project.

His process of working with distributors is to emphasize direct contact with distributors to foster relationships and a deeper understanding of their specific needs. Gary works with a complete customer-centric approach, which means ensuring that distributors have the right training and support to understand new products, how they relate to their specific markets, and the full spectrum of support options available to them through Total Door.

As part of Total Door’s inaugural Advisory Council, Gary is interested in candid feedback from distributors on the tools and support that would help them work more successfully with Total Door Systems.

“Communication is a two-way street at Total Door,” Gary says, “It’s an important value that we share.”

Q & A with Jeanne Kitchen

As Total Door’s Controller, Jeanne Kitchen is one of the leaders driving the company’s quest for product speed and continuous improvement. Recently, she discussed her roles at the company and what excites her about the future.

Q: What projects excite you for the future?

I’m responsible for all the computer systems that make the business run, such as parts ordering and inventory control; and I head financial metrics and human resources.

A project that I’m particularly excited about is what we internally call “the Configurator.”

It will provide more ease and visibility to pricing and quoting future projects. It will be a fantastic resource for distributors to quickly and easily quote projects; and for end users to see how budget friendly our integrated door systems are for a wide variety of projects.

The second one would be our new preventative maintenance software. This is backstage software that is a part of our continuous improvement initiatives. It makes sure that any maintenance issues are addressed completely and on time. Our maintenance team is notified about planned maintenance immediately and receives reminders until the issue is resolved.

The system then automatically schedules the next maintenance issue after it is completed.

Q: How do these projects work to help distributors succeed?

The Configurator will allow distributors to put a Total Door into any frame from anywhere in the field. All they need is internet access and the configurator will make sure the hardware and software work together to create a door that will fit any opening.

Our focus on preventative maintenance concerns the speed and quality of our products. When we maintain our equipment, we don’t experience unexpected downtime. We can get quality orders to customers in the time we expect every time.

It’s exciting to work towards goals when everyone on the team is pulling together towards excellence.

Meet Gary Ray: Total Door Systems, Product Improvement, Design & Testing Engineer

Gary Ray

Gary Ray sees every door as a combination of science and art. As Product Improvement, Design and Testing Engineer for Total Door, Gary works to ensure that every door system meets sets of rigorous standards as well as the exacting requirements of the architect’s vision.

Each and every Total Door system can be customized and crafted for any opening or installation, sometimes in as few as 10 days. Yet, they have to be designed to use the same standardized parts as every other door.

That’s a challenge Gary likes taking on – it’s one of the things that make his job at Total Door enjoyable, he said. More than that, he knows that he gets to work with an expert team that creates a sense of family in the office and the factory. He likes the fact that everyone is committed to building great doors that bring the customer’s vision to life – including helping him drive product improvements through every step of the manufacturing process and setup rigorous testing procedures that ensure Total Door Systems meet or exceed stringent regulatory requirements.

Gary is deeply engaged with the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association, the sole organization accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop and maintain performance standards for architectural hardware, to stay up to date with the industry and new trends.

Gary, an inventor in his own right with a list of patents to his name, is now working on a next-generation door that will do for high-end architectural projects what it did for the local grocery store. It’s all part of his and the company’s drive to give customers the best experience possible.


Total Door Systems 6145 Delfield Dr, Waterford, Michigan 48329
Ph: (800) 852-6660 | Fax: (248) 623-6866 |

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